After establishing the scope and critical context of the book, the Introduction gives a brief history of the A591 main road linking Kendal and Keswick. This ancient road was and is the central axis of the Lake District in many respects; it was a setting for several poems of Wordsworth, and along it Wordsworth, Coleridge and other Romantic writers took up residence. Attracted by these literary associations and by the spectacular landscape, tourists have journeyed along the road on foot, by coach, by bicycle, and in motor vehicles. The surrounding landscape has also been a centre of campaigns against many projected incursions by railways and road constructions. As a principal site of the book, this chapter gives a cultural and social portrayal of the road, following Hardwick Drummond Rawnsley’s coach journey of 1888 — a glimpse of the last days of pre-modern literary tourism by coach — to highlight how this traditional mode of travel was affected by the age of transport revolutions.
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